Thursday, December 27, 2012

Health and Fitness

My most recent pregnancy was high risk.  Not only was I at risk for early labor, but I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  Diabetes doesn't run in my family and I am in pretty good health, yet there I was pricking myself everyday to check my glucose.  (That placenta. I tell ya.   It can interfere with insulin. In my case, it gave me diabetes.)  If you know anything about gestational diabetes, you probably know that it puts you at a higher risk to develop Type II diabetes later on in life.  And although I don't have any other risk factors, I am forever scared straight.  Juice? No thanks. Candy? In moderation. Carbs? Brown please.  That is my life now, because diabetes is just not for me.

In addition to healthy eating, it is also important to exercise to reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes.  Remember, when I said I was at risk for early labor? Well, I was banned from exercise to keep my bun in the oven.  My last pregnancy, I exercised throughout my pregnancy.  This time. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.  So although this time around I gained 20 pounds instead of 30 pounds, my journey to my fit self seems a little bit harder.
I[f you wait for perfect conditions picture]

As many women trying to get back to optimum health, I have excuses. Although as the mom of newborn and a toddler, they are pretty valid.  Lack of sleep. Long days.  Crying babies.  Valid, right?  But at the same time, there is the saying that if you wait for the optimal conditions... it may never happen. So I don't beat myself up, but I try to do what I can until my youngest child is a little more predictable and my body feels a little bit more normal. (It took about 6 months for me to feel normal again when I had my first child.)

Here is what I do, to make it though:
  • Make it a habit. Period.  If being unhealthy is your current habit, then make being healthy your new habit. It takes 28 days to start a new habit. Start today. 
  • I eat well.. for the most part.  If I put good in, then I'm not adding on more pounds. I view food as fuel.  
  • Eat protein snacks throughout the day.  Eating protein helps you keep full, and fights the cravings for unhealthy snacks.  It also helps your metabolism to eat every 2-3 hours.
  • I drink water.  Sodas and soft drinks are easy ways to add calories to your diet.  Cut them out and give your body what it needs... water.
  • I do high intensity workouts in short intervals to maximize my workout.  If you are short on time, then the key is to work multiple body parts, with fewer breaks. I'm currently doing the Jillian Michaels, "Ripped in 30".  She urges you to give it all you have for that 25 minutes.  You will thank yourself later.
  • Ask yourself if it is worth it. Before I eat junk food, I ask myself if I'm going to kick myself later and say that it wasn't worth the calories. Is my mouth watering just thinking about it, I eat it. If not, then I find a healthier option to satiate my appetite.
I have a lot at stake. My health.  Aesthetically, I have to lose about 5 pounds with some toning and shaping. But I have so much more to gain by following a healthier lifestyle.

What tips do you have for fitting in healthier habits into your busy day?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Easy as 1-2-3: Straight Hair in the Summer

 Still (almost) straight two weeks later.

Too often hair tutorials and tips can feel very overwhelming. To simplify, we have a new weekly feature with tutorials in as little as three steps.  Easy. Straightforward. And if you need further details we will include links to related posts.

Easy enough? So onto today's installment. Straight hair in the summer. I know. Counterintuitive, right? But with a few simple steps, it can be done.

1. Straighten it...right. The key to great straight hair is to start with a good blow dyer and flat iron. Use a water-based leave-in and good heat protectant.  

2. Bun it. Non-optimal dew point? Bun it. Workout? Bun it.  As soon as you get home. Bun it (or wrap it.) See the pattern?

3. Set it or Pin it. If your hair starts to revert, set it (rod set, pin curl, bantu knot, etc. ) or pin it up into an updo.

Bonus: Don't sweat it. And no, I don't mean "don't sweat".  (Don't let your hair prevent you from exercising.) Don't expect bone straight hair in the summer.  And if you must retouch, don't forget to use dry shampoo. Flat ironing dirty hair means uneven heat protection and a recipe for disaster.

Any other tips for straight hair in the summer?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Three Days in the Life of Curlformers

It is no secret. I have fallen in love with Curlformers! I have 4a hair and was pleasantly surprised by the smooth results with no heat! I will admit that I struggled with the Curlformers a bit. Due to the density of my hair, I need to do smaller sections. The process should go a lot smoother

My hair after the take down 
Day 1: I decided to style my hair into an updo

The back (I pinned up the back without checking in the mirror.  #mommyskills)
Day 2: High ponytail with curly bang (At night, I simply put on a bonnet. I didn't do anything special to preserve the curls.)
Day 3: High ponytail

Have you ever tried Curlformers? Did you like the results? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vintage Post: Wash 'N Go

I can thank motherhood for reaquainting me with the wash and go.  On Sunday, I pre-pooed (water, coconut oil and baggied) my hair to prep for a wash.  But Mariah, kept me so busy that I couldn't wash and twist my hair.  Before I knew it, it was time for us to take Mariah to my mom's house so the hubby and I could see Transformers for date night.

So to avoid walking around with greasy hair and smelling like a coconut, I had to improvise. 

Wash 'N Go
I washed with Shea Moisture- Moisture Retention Shampoo and conditioned  with Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner.  I then put in Giovanni Direct-Leave -in and sealed with African Royale Hot Six Oil. I then added Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to small sections, detangled, braided, and sealed the ends with shea butter. I then blotted with a t-shirt and blow dried a bit, focusing on the roots, and sealed with jojoba oil. I dressed, pulled into a puff, and put on a headwrap to slick down the front. I took it off before I got out the car at the movies.  And voila!

Co-Wash 'N Go
On Wednesday, I co-washed with Suave Humectants (cheapie conditioner). I finger detangled a bit. I then added Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.  I did mini pineapples with scrunchies and  dressed.  I used the aforementioned puff method.

Refresh 'N Go
To refresh for second day hair (points above), I spritzed with water and sealed with jojoba oil.  I used the same puff method.

This definitely won't be my go to style since my hair dries out too quickly with a wash 'n go. But when I'm pinched for time, it is comforting to know that I have this as an option.

What are your time saving hair tricks?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vintage Post: A Watched Pot Never Boils

Dry flat twist-out using Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque on blown out hair
(Tutorial to follow)

I feel like I woke up one day and there she was... big hair!  Yesterday, my mother-in-law commented about how much my hair has grown. "We used to give it to you", she joked. You got that right!  EVERYONE either had jokes on my hair or gave it the side eye.  But that is no more.  Now I feel like I'm starting a movement.  (Who knew hair could be so powerful?)  Now my nieces want curly hair like mine.  Yesterday, I did a twist and curl in my older niece's hair.  I taught her to how to pre-poo, deep condition, detangle, and style.  I'm determined to get her hair to blossom. She has fine, coarse hair and struggles with breakage.   Everyone is watching to determine whether they will follow suit.  I'm up to the challenge.

One thing I am proud of during my journey is that I resisted the urge to "watch the pot".  I measured it once in January. It was slightly less than 1/2 inch growth per month. Not quite 1/2 an inch.  Instead of getting caught up in measuring my hair I decided to just let it grow.  Whether or not it is on schedule, I am happy since I can see the difference.

 I guess I should follow the same philosophy with weight loss...huh?  I want to thank everyone for their support.  I really am making strides and I should be easier on myself. I'm losing inches and looking leaner with each that day passes.  So I'm officially announcing that I'm going to stop watching the pot.  Instead of weighing myself daily, which is obsessive and unhealthy...I am going to do weekly weigh-ins. To hold myself to it, I'm telling my husband to hide my scale. (He already warned me when we bought it that he would take it away if I start obsessing over my weight. I'm there. He can have it.)  But for old times sake, I weighed myself this morning.  I lost a pound. [Insert happy dance.] Okay. Moment over.

In general (not just hair growth and weight loss), what are you thoughts on "watching the pot"? Is it better to measure progress or follow a laissez-faire approach? At what point does it become obsessive?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dry Twistout Tutorial

Here is an easy breezy dry twistout tutorial:

Step One:  Pre-poo hair with coconut oil
Step Two: Wash and deep condition hair  (SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner)
Step Three: Add Leave-In (Giovanni Direct leave-in)
Step Four: Seal with oil
Step Five: Blow dry in sections with heat protectant (IC Straightening Serum) [ You can use grapeseed oil to avoid cones]
Step Six: Flat twist with SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Masque; it took about 30 minutes

Step Seven: Take down twists and style. Have some oil on your fingers to reduce frizz

That's it!
Do you prefer wet or dry twistouts? 
 I prefer wet since they last longer. (I only like to do my hair once a week.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Vintage Post: So you want to go natural...

Two weeks ago, I was approached for the first time with questions about transitioning to natural hair!  Coincidentally, it was my sister's friend from high school. I provided some basics and directed her to natural hair sites such as Curly Nikki and BGLH and youtube videos.

Thinking back to my own transition, I remember feeling overwhelmed by all of the information.  I bought products unsure of how they would work on my hair.  And I found myself confused by conflicting ideologies of bloggers and vloggers.  That's when I really started to think.  What is some of the basic information and specific resources you would provide to a transitioner or new natural?  It doesn't have to all inclusive...just a springboard to get them started. 

This is where I need your help. 

If your hair is "natural", are there any specific blog posts or videos that you think would be particularly helpful? If you are a transitioner or new natural, what information would you find helpful?

And here are some pics...

She wanted to be held upright.

Vintage Post: No Lye Anniversary!

In the midst of all the baby hoopla, I forgot to celebrate my one year no lye anniversary.  Last year, on April 26, 2010, I cut my hair into a Rihanna cut. I later decided that I was over relaxers and it was inadvertently was my last.

My new easy breezy hairstyle is to rock twists for a few days and then rock a twist-out.  In the coming weeks, I'll have to do some product reviews and regimen updates. I don't try new products often, but I have tons of products that I have used over an extended period of time.  I can provide some detailed reviews for those products. 

The biggest lesson(s), I've learned over the last year is:

Keep it simple and if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Do you have any specific hair questions you would like me to answer?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vintage Post: Roll and Tuck Updos

 I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite hairstyle.  I finally came to the realization that my hair is finally long enough to do updos with I went for it. It was actually quite simple...
Step One: Dampen Hair, with particular attention to any section you plan on parting.  (You don't want to hear snap, crackle, pop) 
Step Two: Use scrunchies to hold your sections
Step Three: Apply styling products. ( I used Margherites' Hair Magic and Eco Styler gel)
Step Four: Tuck and roll to your heart's desire
Step Five:  Seal with an oil
Optional:  * Add Accesories * Lay down edges with a headtie

I was bored so I tried a different hairstyle yesterday and I'm wearing again today...


What is your new go to hairstyle?

Vintage Post: New Mom Beauty Routine

You're looking at it!

Hair, dry as the sahara desert...check
Pizza face...check
Dreadful eyebrows...check
Spit-up adorned clothes...check
Baby fat...check

At least I can laugh about it. And I promise I put myself together when I go in public.  But honestly, I find pockets of me time whenever I can.  Yesterday, I did a bentonite clay treatment on my face. I exercise at least 20 minutes a day.  When daddy gets home, I'm taking a long shower and washing this hair of mine.  And on Friday, these eyebrows are getting threaded. (Your days are numbered.)

Tomorrow, I'll let you know the results of my fitness assessment. I'm basically fit and recovering well from my pregnancy a.k.a.  I need to get a grip and be patient.   

Now back to baby.  She is suffering from hold me syndrome.  If you have a cure, please let me know.  Le sigh. How do you find time to take care of YOU?

Vintage Post: Mattastic

My hair is Mattastic!

According to the urban dictionary, this word means better than great. But I'm adding a new definition, because I surely haven't felt better than great over the last few weeks. And for the record...if I disappear from the blog, you can guess one of three things. I'm sick. I'm exhausted. I'm in labor (real or "practice").

But enough with the formalities. Back to my mattastic hair....

 Because I've been feeling under the weather, I've been neglecting my hair.  Straight...abuse.  I literally let my hair dry up, mat, knot, and just covered it with a bonnet and/or hat.  I paid dearly for my actions.  Last week, I lost more hair than usual. This week, my detangling session -- which included coconut oil, hair oil, deep conditioning, and lots of patience -- took all day.  I was determined not to lose a lot of hair! `  To avoid the aggravation this week, I roller set my hair and sat under the dryer. (Sorry no pics.)

On April 28, 2011, it will be one year since my last relaxer.  Throughout my journey, I'm always placed with new challenges. My newest challenge is matting. In fact, my hair is very prone to matting. When I was a kid, my past shoulder length hair shriveled up to a small twa on wash day.  It's just what my hair does.  And as my hair grows back, I'm learning the hard way that I can't be lazy (sigh).  I must keep my hair stretched and detangled. I don't have wash and go hair.  I can't just spritz my hair with water to refresh.  (I can spritz and retwist though.)   Big twists for a twist-outs result in matting [points above].  (Don't be fooled. The top is the only defined part of my hair. The rest is matted.)

LESSON LEARNED: I'm one of those people who if I did nothing to my hair, I would have one large dreadlock on my  I'm referencing kimmaytube, btw. Coincidentally, the same day I decided to stop my matt-causing habits...I found this video.

Check it out...

Does anyone else struggle with hair that is prone to matting/tangling/single-strand knots? Any tips?   

Let's Discuss.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Misikko Hana Flat Iron Review (Part 2)

August 2011

As promised in part 1, here is part 2 of my Hana flat iron review. I have to say that I was pretty pleased with the flat iron results. (Please note that I used a creamy leave-in to help with detangling since I was wearing wash 'n gos the week prior so my hair was a bit fluffier than usual.) To sum up the difference
between my old flat iron and the Hana Flat iron, it: (1) had a lot of movement (2) did not make me worry that my hair wouldn't revert. I'm going to have to follow up with results when I use an appropriate leave-in for straightening...but so far so good.

January 2011

February 2011

May 2011 Flat Iron Review (Part 1)

Recently, Brian from contacted me to ask whether I would like to do a review of the Hana flat iron. For quite some time, I've wanted to replace my current flat iron.  I've been researching both low end and high end flat irons, but uncertainty about whether high end flat irons were worth the money stopped me from making the plunge.  I could barely contain my excitement when I found out that I could try one of these esteemed flat irons. 

So that I can provide a thorough review, I am doing a two part review... just in time for straight hair weather (for those who heat straighten).  I will first cover properties of a good flat iron (part 1) and then I will reveal the results (part 2).

I received the Hana Professional Flat Iron 1", which is on's list of best flat irons as recommended by stylists and customers. 

This (points above) is a closeup of the plates of my current flat iron. I've had it for about four years now. Because it is ceramic over metal plates, you can see that the ceramic is scraping away. This allows for uneven heat distribution b.k.a. singed hair.  It obviously needs to be replaced.

My current flat iron is only 1" long and has a velvety fabric on it.  This is not ideal for curling hair. But I made it work.  Also, the dial is a bane to my existence. The heat dial list numbers in 5 point intervals.  I assumed that when my flat iron was at 35, that it was 350 degrees. WRONG!  When I checked the chart on the box at the store, it was actually 425 degrees. 

In my search for a better flat iron, I was specifically on the search for a digital flat iron.  Although the Hana  flat iron has a dial, it has a cover over the dial so that you won't accidentally flick it. It utilizes flash heat, which change the heat settings quickly (with a flash as the heat changes). The heat is consistent.  It also lists the actual degrees on the dial.  Initially, I was disappointed by the dial...but as I used it, I didn't encounter the issues I had with the dial on my flat iron.

The Hana flat iron came in its own case plus tons of goodies.  The most important accessory that was included was a flat iron case. I never thought about it before, but I probably shouldn't have thrown my flat iron under my sink without any protection against nicks and cuts.

I'm not going to totally diss my old flat iron though.  In fact, it's done a pretty good job over the years.  (Although it did singe my hair a couple of times.)  But on sight alone, I could tell that I was in for an upgraded flat iron exprerience with the Hana flat iron. 

Vintage Post: My first puff (and crazy eyes...)

Today, I reached a major milestone!  I achieved my first puff! (Doing a little happy dance...) Before I explain how I achieved this look, I must first make a confession.  I haven't washed my hair in almost two weeks.  (Don't judge me. I did cleanse my scalp with some astringent when it started to itch though.) Yes... this is my curl revision from my rod set.  It started to revert on its own... so I helped it along with steam and water spritzes.  Don't worry. I plan on washing and deep conditioning this weekend.

Step 1: Spritz with water/conditioner mix.
Step 2: Add Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie for more moisture and curl definition.
Step 3: Seal with Hot Six Oil spray (or oil/oil mixture of your choice).
Step 4: Used Let's Jam to smooth edges (Yes, I know it has alcohol...and it's not Cetyl which is fatty and moisturizing either.   But I don't like ecostyler...sorry.)
Step 5: Used sock to pull hair into puff. (You can use a stocking or shoe string as an alternative.)
Step 6: Put on a headtie to smooth edges.  Drove to work and took it off upon arrival.

* On another note...

Don't I look like I have crazy eyes in this pic?  Nadette has a theory that people who have crazy eyes are usually... crazy!  I've tested this theory time and time again.  And she is very right.  I promise I'm not crazy though.  I have a family member in the hospital and I think I was trying too hard to smile. After a couple attempts, I finally gave up and settled on this picture. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vintage Post: Wash & No-Go

 Why is my hair all over the place? Because I was picking at my scalp, of course. It is a bad habit I picked up from my relaxed days when chemical burns were the norm.  Don't judge me.


Have you heard about the Cantu Shea Butter warning? The one that states that you you should avoid putting the product on your scalp.  Well if you do some further research, you will learn that this rule applies to all leave-in conditioners.  This is particularly important if you have a sensitive scalp like mine.  Thanks to my hard-headedness, I ravaged my scalp.  Imagine how sore and itchy your scalp feels after a chemical burn.  Yup, that was me.  It wasn't pretty.

Hair. Resilient. Scalp. Super-sensitive.  (I bet you thought my hair catastrophe would be fried hair.  Bwahaha.)

When I first BC'd, my go to (modified) wash and go routine was to put Cantu Shea Butter on a dried-up twist-out (approximately 3 days old). The next day did I wash it out? No.  Or, the next day? Of course, not.  So by the the third day, As  you can imagine, my hair itched horribly.  The itch-factor coupled with the strong smell forced me to switch to Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

With a new product, I continued the same habits.  (I didn't feel like re-twisting my hair mid-week and needed an easy solution. I'm stubborn. Don't judge me.)  At first, my scalp was ok.  Eventually, the itching ensued. But worst.  By the time I straightened my hair in late February, my scalp was ready for a break.


 I clarified my hair and applied jojoba oil and castor oil to the scalp, which provided some relief. But I still found myself picking at my scalp and my scalp flaking horribly.  This weekend, I finally decided to do a Bentonite Clay treatment.  Ultimate relief.  Ahhhh! My scalp no longer feels sore and raw. 


Will I stop using Shea Moisture? No.  It works great for wet twist-outs.  Will I stop putting almost half the jar on my head for a wash and go? Yes. I've learned my lesson.  My scalp doesn't like build-up. I get it.  I'll stop being lazy. I'll do my hair mid-week.  I also will not be one of those people who leaves 90% of conditioner in their hair.  I will stick to leave-ins since they are not as heavy and are designed to be left in the hair.


My luscious curls are ready for their close-up.

Has anyone had a similar experience due to misuse of products?  Any suggestions for someone with a sensitive scalp?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vintage Post: How I Straighten My Hair

DISCLAIMER: Please note that you must be careful when you straighten your hair.  To avoid heat damage, pay attention to how YOUR hair reacts to heat. Always use a heat protectant.  Try lower heat first then work your way up to determine the optimum heat temperature.  Also make sure that you don't use a blow dryer that is more than 1875 watts.  Abuse of any hairstyle, whether it is heat styling, wigs, weaves, braids, wash and gos, or headbands can be damaging.  So pay attention to your hair. Adjust your routine when you notice signs of damage.

- I am a big advocate of tourmaline ionic heat styling tools.  The negative ions smooth the hair cuticle, dries your hair faster, locks in moisture, and reduces heat damage. I have been using tourmaline ionic blow dryers and flat irons for almost two years. I switched to a tourmaline ionic blow dryer after I fried off my hair with a faulty blow dryer. My hair grew back in 10 months. My hair dresser was surprised by my lack of split ends.
-Use a HEAT PROTECTANT!  Whether it is grapeseed oil, CHI silk infusion, or IC Straightening Serum (my product of choice), please protect your tresses.
-Don't run the flat iron over your hair 50-million times.  Once or twice should be suffice.

Avalon Organics Peppermint Oil Shampoo
Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner
Aphogee Protein Leave-in Conditioner
Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner
African Royale Hot Six Oil
IC Straightening Serum
Isoplus Contitioning Gel (when I curled hair the next day)
Andis Professional Tourmaline Ionic Blow Dryer (only about $40)
Titanium Tools Flat Iron
Revlon Ceramic Curling Iron


-Wash, deep condition, and detangle hair.  Put in your leave-in conditioners and oils.

-Put a reasonable amount of heat protectant in your hand, rub together hands, and apply.  Blow-dry detangled hair.  I use a blow-dryer comb attachment.  Before I blow dry each section, I use my shower comb to detangle again.

I originally blow dried my hair to braid cornrowed extensions. Fail!  I need to put in kinky twists.  But check out my little twists. I'm going ot have the cutest twist-out when I grow some hair.

Flat iron hair in small sections.  For each section, only use heat protectant spanning about a centimeter. If it is not getting straight enough, divide your hair into slightly smaller sections.  (Rather than run the flat iron on your hair too many times.)

If I were going out, I would immediately curl my hair. Since I was going to bed, I wrapped my hair. The next morning I curled it.

To maintain my hairstyle:
-Avoid water-based hair products, otherwise it will revert.  I used oil and shea butter to seal in the moisture and maintain my hair style.
-Resist the urge to flat iron mid-week.  If your hair starts to revert, work with it.  Consider pin-curls, a braid out, or putting in rollers.
-Avoid really hot showers; they are not good for your skin anyway.  When you take a shower, consider using multiple hair wraps and shower cap. 

Anyone else have any advice?

Vintage Post: Your hair looks professional like that...

Please excuse the picture quality. I took this pic with my cell phone.

Let's rewind to yesterday.  I straightened my hair for my hubby's birthday.  I was very excited to see the amount of growth in just two-week's time.  (I'm doing something right.)  But of course, 15 minutes away from a much needed vacation, someone had to spoil my day.  (No, I'm not going anywhere.  Just not to work....ahhhh.)

A co-worker, who normally barely says two words to me, stated, "Your hair looks nice!"
Surprised. I replied, "Thank you".
My thank you barely had the time to make it out of  my lips, before the interjection, "It looks professional like that."

As opposed to what? My natural texture?  Am I overreacting?  And who are you to tell me what is professional?  You are wearing a hawaiian shirt and wrinkled shorts.  [At least that is what I think this non-descript person was wearing.]  Who made you the authority on professionalism?

So, fifteen minutes away from my vacation, I simply walked into my office and started to pack up my stuff.  I was on the brink of a serious ABW (Angry Black Woman) moment.  I  normally get compliments in my office on my hair [whether it is curly or straight], my clothes [which are professional, even during the business casual summer], and my shoes [always fabulous, but still working within the confines of a professional setting].  So I wasn't thrown back by the compliment.  After attending a predominantly white university, I've been subject to blatant racism [cue swastikas and the "N" word written on all doors...on my first night of college] and ignorant comments [cue, terminology like "ghetto booty"].  So, by the age of 28, I'm not sensitive about race. I normally correct people and move on. 

After some thought, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't overracting. This person just game me an underhanded "compliment".  And by the time I got home I was fuming. Luckily, a birthday dinner with my hubby, mom, and sis calmed me down.  But I'm still a little peeved.  

Should I be so angry? Your thoughts?

Vintage Post: Hair Reversion

My hair after my co-wash and before bentonite clay. I co-washed, because bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar clarify the hair.In my third installment, check out the before and after.  (Make note of my different curl textures and shrinkage.)

It's no secret. I straighten my hair.  I'm aware of the dangers, but hair is an accessory to me. I take caution and I don't overdo it.  I've been checking out a lot of YouTube videos about straightening hair, heat damage, and I realized that there are quite a few things I'm doing right:

  • At night, I use coconut oil to do pin curls or wrap my hair. Coconut oil lays the cuticles down and results in a nice, smooth finish.  (Much better option than running the flat iron through your hair again. I only do that in emergency situations.)
  • I pre-poo with coconut oil -- either overnight or 20-30 minutes prior to shampooing hair.  Last week, I also put some castor oil on my scalp.  Castor oil promotes healthy hair growth, but it is a heavy oil so DON'T rub through your hair.
  • I deep condition my hair.  Based upon some videos I've watched, moisture is key to silky, bouncy hair...without the temptation to put too much heat on your hair.
  • I don't put heat on my hair that is over 350 degrees.  Otherwise, you may end up with heat damage or alter your curl pattern.  (When I accidentally ran the flat iron through a small section at 400 degrees, I defintely changed the curl pattern. I've been nursing.  I plan on growing it out and cutting it off. LESSON LEARNED.)
  • I revert my hair by running water on hair and rubbing my scalp in circles.  My curls revert in this step alone. If any curls look different,  I focus on those areas during the shampoo and condition process
  • I clarify my hair after a week of straight hair. I use a lot of cones in my hair, while it is straight.  I make sure I get them out of my hair.
  • I exercise caution.  Whether you use heat, color, or relaxer...exercise caution.
Here are some helpful videos I found:

And this video...

I personally don't follow any instructionals to the letter. I incorporate elements that work for me. 

Does anyone else have any tips, suggestions, or cautions?

Vintage Post: Bentonite Clay &Twist-out

If you can recall, I originally wanted to try a henna treatment.  But I recently learned that there are alternatives to henna, with similar results.  After much deliberation, I recognized that a messy, all-day henna treatment was probably not a sustainable hair treatment for an expectant mother.

Benefits of Bentonite Clay:
  • Removes dirt, debri, and buildup from hair; draws excess oils to the surface (also great for skin)
  • Defines/Enhances curl pattern
  • Imparts shine
  • Improves detangling
  • Nutrients nourish hair
    • Mineral Content:
      • Silica- 61.4%
      • Aluminum- 18.1%
      • Iron- 3.5%
      • Sodium- 2.3%
      • Magnesium- 1.7%
      • Calcium- 0.04%
      • Titanium- 0.02%
      • Potassium- 0.01%
      • Moisture- 7.8%
      • pH - 8.3 - 9.1   (I mixed it with Apple Cider Vineger, which should bring down the ph.  Hair products should have a ph of 5.5 -7. But I'm not kimmaytube. I don't test the ph of my products.  So don't take my word for it.)
  • Don't use metal utensils (It draws impurities from metals; the warning is located on the container)
  • It should be gray
  • Can be purchased from health food stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Vitamin Shoppe. (I purchased mine at Vitamin Shoppe)
  • Be careful trying to open container in store to check the may end up with powder all over your black coat like I did.
  • Don't let it harden on your hair!  Leave in for 20-30 minutes. If you forget about it and leave it in longer, have fun taking it out. Don't worry. I only left it in for 25 minutes.

This is my hair after reverting and co-washing my hair.

I guesstimated a mixture of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar.  The result should be a yogurt consistency.  Some people use water, oils and/or conditioners in their mix. I decided to keep it simple.

Clay on my hair. How flattering...

Rinsed out and Conditioned.

Flat twists in the front, regular two-strand twists in the back.  Flat twisting gives me pregnancy carpal tunnel.  So no more flat twists until I pop this baby out.

Twist-out results the next day.

Favorite twist-out products:
1. Shea moisture
2. Coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera gel
3. Bee Mine Curly Butter
*Always seal ends with shea butter

*Thus far, I am pleased with the results.  All of the stated benefits were achieved.  I'm sold :-) I plan on doing this treatment once a month. I will keep you updated on the long-term results.

Need a video tutorial?

Check out BlackOnyx.

Has anyone else tried bentonite clay? What did you think?  Does anyone else have any henna alternatives?

Vintage Post: Lessons Learned - 2.5 Weeks Natural

On the right, my hair when I'm too lazy to do it. I finally decided to do my hair after my husband asked if I could twist my hair or

All done! I used Bee Mine Hold Curly Butter, which I won on Moptop Maven's blog.

I put on a hat to go vote !

The next day after work...

It's hard to believe, but I've been all natural for almost three weeks!  In these past few weeks, I've learned a lot about not only my hair, but about myself as well: 
  • I've learned to not be so sensitive. So when my mom smiled and said I looked like a pickinanny (meaning, pickininny), I wasn't offended. I actually thought it was funny and I was happy that she didn't gawk at my hair all night. (My mom has a tendency to poke, prod, and stare.  Imagine my mom inspecting my face after a break out. Not fun. At all.)
  • A lot of my appearance is wrapped up in my hair.  I never realized how much I loved my long, thick hair... until it was gone.  I know I am not my hair, but I am. I am!  Patiently waiting for it to grow back. I will NEVER cut it again.
  • Overuse and abuse of oil will result in a breakout.  I can't remember the last time I had a breakout, but last week I tried a mixture of olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter. Fail! Major fail!  Every time I touched my hair, I would have a handful of oil.  That same oil dripped onto my face and caused a major breakout on my forehead and temples. I immediately stopped using olive oil and attacked the breakout with Salicylic acid (Neutrogena astringent).  My face is clear once again.  Now, I stick to my hot six oil/spray, coconut oil, and shea butter. No more trips to the kitchen for me.
  • Wash and Gos are not for me. In my hair, wash and gos resulted in a shrunken, matted mess.  And that's ok. They are just not for me. Instead, I do a flat twist-out and for the next 2-3 days, I use Cantu Shea butter.  I get the same results as a wash and go and it's less time consuming.
  • My hair loves water-based products and conditioners.  The key to moisture in my hair is deep conditioning, the use of water-based hair creams, and great leave-in conditioners.  Then seal lightly with oil and shea butter when appropriate. 
  • The Denman brush is worth all the hype. At least to me.  I thoroughly detangle first with my shower comb, of course. Running the brush through my hair softens and smooths the texture. It results in great twist-outs.  And it doesn't pull out my hair either...
  • I learned to curb my PJIsm. Over the fast months, I would randomly buy products because I heard about it on a blog, or YouTube.  I've curbed that habit. Instead, I'm focusing on how to use those products and particular techniques.  I hate Cantu Shea Butter as a leave-in. It has been in my cabinet for months. But on YouTube, someone mentioned that it is a great alternative for wash and gos. So I tried it and it worked.  Try looking up how others use the products you already have.  Also, look up techniques.  Don't be so quick to run to the store. Take the time to learn more about your hair, develop a routine, and figure out what is missing.  The only products I am really interested in purchasing are Shea Moisture (as an alternative to Cantu Shea Butter since it flakes and I'm not fond of the smell), and Aloe Vera Gel (my Bee Mine product has Shea and Aloe Vera Gel. Love it!)
  • DO ME! No matter what someone suggests on a blog, forum or on YouTube, I have to DO ME! I have to take the time to learn my hair and what works for me. Some disapprove of cones, my hair has no problem with them.  Some don't believe in washing hair, I do.  Some disapprove of straightening natural hair, but I like the versatility.  It's my hair so I'm going to DO ME!
What lessons have you learned on your hair journey? (Whether it is a natural or healthy hair journey)
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